Dates and casting have been announced for the National Theatre’s forthcoming productions of Edward II and Tori Amos-scored musical The Light Princess, which are set to open later this year.
Joining The Hothouse’s John Heffernan in Joe Hill-Gibbins’ production of Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II, which plays from 28 August (press night 4 September) to 26 October in the Olivier theatre, are Kyle Soller and Vanessa Kirby.
Soller, who was nominated for his role in Long Day’s Journey Into Night at this year’s Olivier Awards with MasterCard, will play Gaveston in Hill-Gibbins’ NT directorial debut, following performances in The Faith Machine at the Royal Court, and The Glass Menagerie and The Government Inspector at the Young Vic.
Well known for her role as Estella in the BBC’s recent adaptation of Great Expectations, Kirby, who will take on the role of Queen Isabella, was last seen on stage in Three Sisters at the Young Vic. The actress’ other theatre credits include The Acid Test at the Royal Court and Women Beware Women at the National Theatre.
The trio will be joined in Marlowe’s historical play about the 14th century monarch by writer of the Young Vic’s Blackta Nathaniel Martello-White, Young Vic regular Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, This House’s Matthew Pidgeon, Bettrys Jones (RSC’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and David Sibley.
Following the opening of Edward II, new musical The Light Princess, starring Clive Rowe and Rosalie Craig, will play in the Lyttelton theatre from 25 September (press night 9 October).
Directed by Marianne Elliott, who will be reunited with lighting designer Paule Constable following their Olivier Award-winning work on NT hit The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, The Light Princess is a dark fairy tale about grief, rebellion and power set to a score by Amos.
Craig, who will play Princess Althea in the production, is joined by The Winslow Boy’s Nick Hendrix as Prince Digby in a cast that will also include Amy Booth-Steel, Stephanie Bron, Vivien Carter, James Charlton, Hal Fowler, Owain Gwynn, Nicola Hart, C J Johnson, Luke Johnson, David Langham, Richard Lowe, Tommy Luther, Jamie Muscato, Emma Norin, Malinda Parris, Kane Oliver Parry, Adam Pearce, Caspar Phillipson, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Nuno Silva, Phoebe Street, Ben Thompson and Lynne Wilmot.
Playing in the Olivier theatre from 16 November (press night 4 December), Emil And The Detectives, a tale about a boy who sets off on a journey that will change his life, will feature a cast including Sue Wallace and Naomi Frederick, who recently appeared on stage alongside The Light Princess’ Hendrix in Lindsay Posner’s production of The Winslow Boy at the Old Vic.
Directed by Bijan Sheibani, the production’s cast will also include a group of 50 nine to 13-year-olds who have been selected from boroughs, schools and youth theatres across the capital.
Also announced today is a new series of productions by some of Britain’s emerging theatre-makers that will play at the National’s new temporary venue The Shed from 9 to 21 September.
The productions will include Sleepdogs’ The Bullet And The Bass Trombone (9 to 11 September), Little Bulb’s Squally Showers (12 to 14 September), Still House’s Ours Was The Fen Country (15 to 17 September), The Wardrobe Ensemble’s Riot (18 to 20 September) and Myrtle Theatre Company’s Up Down Boy (21 September).
Following the limited season of shows, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s The World Of Extreme Happiness will receive its UK premiere at The Shed in a production directed by Constellations’ Michael Longhurst. Playing from 25 September (press night 30 September) to 26 October, the play promises to take audiences on an energetic and imaginative journey through contemporary China as Sunny leaves her family and embarks on a journey to a new life.
The World Of Extreme Happiness will be followed by a new play written and directed by Debbie Tucker Green. Playing from 30 October (press night 5 November) to 5 December, the production’s cast will include Gershwyn Eustache Jr, Nadine Marshall, Anthony Welsh and Sharlene Whyte.
In celebration of the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary, the venue will also present a series of events, exhibitions and online resources in order to show how the NT has become one of the most cherished and creative institutions in Britain since it began life at the Old Vic in 1963.
For people up and down the country as well as in countries around the world, there will be a special performance broadcast live on BBC Two and in cinemas globally, a new BBC documentary about the institution’s history, NT Live screenings of Hamlet, Frankenstein and The Habit Of Art, an audience-led online archive, an interactive timeline of the NT’s history and online exhibitions curated by theatre specialists.
Meanwhile at the venue itself there will be a series of platform events, exhibitions, a treasure hunt-inspired history tour and a pop-up shop where people can purchase unique items created especially for the NT’s half-century anniversary.